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REVIEW: RNA Editing by ADAR Adenosine Deaminases: From Molecular Plasticity of Neural Proteins to the Mechanisms of Human Cancer

A. O. Goncharov1,a, A. A. Kliuchnikova1,2, S. S. Nasaev2, and S. A. Moshkovskii1,2,b*

1Institute of Biomedical Chemistry, 119121 Moscow, Russia

2Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, 117997 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received April 4, 2019; Revised April 30, 2019; Accepted May 1, 2019
RNA editing by adenosine deaminases of the ADAR family attracts a growing interest of researchers, both zoologists studying ecological and evolutionary plasticity of invertebrates and medical biochemists focusing on the mechanisms of cancer and other human diseases. These enzymes deaminate adenosine residues in the double-stranded (ds) regions of RNA with the formation of inosine. As a result, some RNAs change their three-dimensional structure and functions. Adenosine-to-inosine editing in the mRNA coding sequences may cause amino acid substitutions in the encoded proteins. Here, we reviewed current concepts on the functions of two active ADAR isoforms identified in mammals (including humans). The ADAR1 protein, which acts non-specifically on extended dsRNA regions, is capable of immunosuppression via inactivation of the dsRNA interactions with specific sensors inducing the cell immunity. Expression of a specific ADAR1 splicing variant is regulated by the type I interferons by the negative feedback mechanism. It was shown that immunosuppressing effects of ADAR1 facilitate progression of some types of cancer. On the other hand, changes in the amino acid sequences resulting from the mRNA editing by the ADAR enzymes can result in the formation of neoantigens that can activate the antitumor immunity. The ADAR2 isoform acts on RNA more selectively; its function is associated with the editing of mRNA coding regions and can lead to the amino acid substitutions, in particular, those essential for the proper functioning of some neurotransmitter receptors in the central nervous system.
KEY WORDS: adenosine deaminase, RNA editing, ADAR, cancer, immunity, neoantigen

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297919080054